As a director at Stanford University and in the Bay Area, Ken’s work has been focused on musical theater and on social responsibility. In his role as Artistic Director for the Asian American Theater Project, Ken has worked on a variety of plays at Stanford that address race and representation on stage, including Death of a Salesman and My Fair Lady. In addition to his work on campus, Ken’s recent professional accomplishments include the role of assistant director American Conservatory
What did the Fellowship or Laureate mean to you at the time you received it?
I felt appreciated as an artist for all of the work I have accomplished and for the work I have yet to do. As someone fresh out of undergrad who aspires to stay in the theater profession, it has been a terrifying last couple of months trying to figure out how to pave my own way as a director and what opportunities would open doors for a sustainable career. The Laureate was the motivational boost that I needed that reminded me that my work is important to my community and I am invigorated to keep creating meaningful art.
What do you do now? Has your art evolved or changed?
I am a theater director working on a variety of musicals at the moment including a huge production of Hairspray which runs at Stanford this April (2015), a small production of The Last Five Years also at Stanford, My Fair Lady with Broadway By the Bay which will be my Bay Area directorial debut, and a deconstructed and immersive production of Sweeney Todd with Bay Area Theater Company over the summer. I love musical theater but I do hope to expand my resume to work on straight plays and classic texts soon. I'm always looking for more projects to take on with collaborators and currently I'm in the process of developing a couple of new musicals with a bunch of artist friends from Stanford.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an emerging artist?
Find a community of collaborators that you can trust and play with. Making art is hard work but it should also be fun.
Briefly, how would you describe the state of the arts locally, as well as national and beyond?
Thriving but needing more money.
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